Journey into the captivating lower South Island to uncover an unforgettable mix of rare wildlife, remote rugged lands, and delicious seafood. The Southern Scenic Route will take you off the beaten path to discover stunning deserted coastlines, majestic fiords and welcoming locals.
Further down the coast from Dunedin wander the 5-minute path to Nugget Point lighthouse and marvel the steep headland and rocky islets (The Nuggets). Enjoy amazing views along the coastline, visit the famous Pūrākaunui Falls, and look out for fur seals lolling about in rock pools and generally having fun.
Invercargill is a gateway to some of New Zealand's most beautiful scenery and destinations including the Southland heartland, Stewart Island/Rakiura and the Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary. Take an easy ferry ride to the island sanctuary to meet unique wildlife in their native habitat. Local food specialties in Invercargill include Bluff Oysters and blue cod - they're a must try!
This picturesque drive skirts the eastern boundary of Fiordland National Park and the rugged south coast, providing an introduction to southern parts of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. Visit Te Hikoi Southern Journey to learn about Riverton's bi-cultural past and stop over in Tuatapere for many points of natural and historic interest along the route, and varied opportunities for recreation – tramping, mountain biking, trout fishing, hunting, boating and caving. Arriving in the township of Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park, you will find a variety of activities such as the glowworm caves, Te Anau Bird Sanctuary and the Ata Whenua movie, plus a range of accommodation and restaurants. This is the perfect base to explore the majestic Milford and Doubtful Sounds on short walks, multi-day hikes or boat cruises.
The road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives, or you can relax in a coach tour and enjoy the local stories. The first part is relatively mild farmland, before you ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Mirror Lakes, which offer amazing reflective views on a clear day. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak.
A cruise on Milford Sound will be an essential component of your time in Fiordland; you can choose either a day trip or an overnight cruise to really experience the beauty. Tall waterfalls, vertical rock faces and seals are some of the things you’ll remember. The underwater observatory is an option with most cruises. If you opt for a day cruise, head back to Te Anau to spend the night; it has a wide range of accommodation and restaurants on offer.
The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting and fantastically attractive. Nestled on the shores of the stunning Lake Wakatipu, it is the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including bungy, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting and river surfing. It’s also a destination for luxury experiences – gourmet food and award-winning vineyards to visit by bike or car, indulge in spa treatments and leisurely games of golf.